Nearly 200 high school hockey teams in Pennsylvania have been advised to eliminate the national anthem because it takes too much time to perform and costs too much money.
“We are recommending the national anthem not be played or sung or whatever it is,” Ed Sam, commissioner of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League told Fox News. “It has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism at all. That’s the furthest thing from the truth.”
Schools were notified of the directive in an email from the PIHL. He said teams are only allotted a certain amount of time to play matches.
Sam also said it had to do with economics. He said ice time is quite expensive and the national anthem eats into the clock.
“Ice is very, very hard to get and it’s not cheap,” he told television station KDKA, noting that it costs upwards of $300 per hour for schools to rent ice rinks.
The decision has been met with fierce opposition. Many hockey fans said the national anthem should remain.
“I go back to the 1960s with high school hockey and it’s always been a part of it,” Bob Mock told KDKA. “A part of our history and it should be a part of the game.”
Sam acknowledged that he used a “poor choice of words” but said the national anthem hasn’t been a major issue.
“A lot of our teams never really played the national anthem,” he said. “But some of them did.”